In little over a week, I'll be speaking about Drupal at the Open Source CMS Summit, a conference for people interested in Open Source Content Management Systems. The conference takes place February 7 - 9 in Vancouver (Canada), right before Moose Camp and Northern Voice. Among people from the Plone, ezPublish, TikiWiki and the Wordpress community, more than 100 Drupal contributors have registered. Yes, more than 100. Utterly surreal.
NowPublic launched their new website today! Think of NowPublic as a combination of Slashdot, Digg and Flickr (albeit not as popular yet). Contributors share the news they read as well as original content that they write, creating a popularity index or "best of the news" which readers can then view by the subjects and locations that interest them. In addition, members can also contribute to any story by adding audio, video, and photos. Of course, they are using Drupal.
(Disclosure: I am an advisor to NowPublic.)
We have many great leaders in the Drupal community. Prominent examples are Boris Mann, Zack Rosen, Adrian Rossouw and Chris Messina. Some of the leaders in the FOSS world are referred to as evangelists. Leaders, and evangelists, look outward. They familiarize themselves with emerging technologies, study the competition, connect different projects and technologies. They are strategic thinkers that take us to places we might not have gone on our own.
We also have great managers in the Drupal community. Prominent examples are Kieran Lal, Robert Douglass and Steven Peck. Leaders and managers are fundamentally different. Unlike leaders, managers look inward. They look inside the community and focus on the people doing the work. They recognize the fact that a community the size of Drupal's has a lot of potential (even in areas like usability and aesthetics) and that many of the individuals in the Drupal community have the power to make a difference. Managers remove barriers, care about the infrastructure, help people get on board and make them perform. By doing so they (indirectly) get a lot of work done. Many of the FOSS world's managers are best described as being mentors.
Both evangelists (leaders) and mentors (managers) are invaluable. Acting as an evangelists or acting as a mentor is as important as contributing code, patches or documentation.
We also have many great contributors that are not necessarily evangelists (leaders) or mentors (managers), but that have the passion, the knowledge and the competency it takes to make things happen. They are often exceptionally accomplished at tracking down problems, fixing bugs, writing documentation, translating user interfaces, or providing support. They are the heart of the Drupal community. They make Drupal tick.
You identified yourself as being part of the latter category? Ever wished there were more people to help? That you had more hours in a day? It is a clear sign that we need more mentors. Please act as a mentor. Find, motivate, guide and empower people to take on a role within the Drupal community. Be a mentor determined to unlock some of the potential and to bring on board a range of valuable and necessary talents. You'll find it both rewarding and sustainable.
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